Stephenson is one of the youngest and largest colleges. Founded in 2001, we now have over 1,000 students.
Between 1992 and 2001 students at Stockton had been members of one College, synonymous with the Campus, and called, successively JUCOT (Joint University College on Teesside), UCS (University College Stockton) and then there was another change of name to become UDSC (University of Durham, Stockton Campus) only for the Campus to change name again to become, as now, Queen's Campus.
By the late 1990s the number of students was so large that it was becoming increasingly difficult not only to hold the community together but also for other Colleges to compete with ‘Stockton' on the rugby field. And so it came to pass that in 2001 the new Colleges of (George) Stephenson and (John) Snow were created. We at Stephenson have rapidly dropped the ‘George' from our name for many reasons, one of which was to maintain the tradition of frequent name changes but also the local Tax Office is to be found at George Stephenson House and we were disappointing so many of our visitors.
Our motto ‘one day I shall astonish the world' is taken from a letter the great engineer and railway pioneer wrote in the early 19th century. Stephenson had become increasingly frustrated at the sheer lack of imagination shown by those around him, and particularly with financiers (who were reluctant to take risks and bankroll a newfangled steam engine on tracks pulling passengers). The motto is now in Latin since, as our students said, ‘it's not a real motto unless it's in Latin'. We do our very best to ensure that our students are equipped to astonish the world, and it's no exaggeration to say that, even in the first few days of each new year, some do astonish us. It's a motto worthy of being adopted by us all.
One day I shall astonish the world.George Stephenson
To mark the fact we are Stephenson College, as you enter our courtyard you will be confronted by a full-size model of Locomotion No 1, the engine which famously pulled the original 1825 Stockton to Darlington train. Our replica was acquired a couple of years ago and while it looks very solid and metallic it's actually MDF and was built as a prop for Darlington Operatic Society.
Stephenson College is so new we have few traditions but our Stephenson Day in June, the Stephenson Balls, our successes on the playing field (including Doxbridge) and our reputation for being a relaxed, very friendly and very active college which is embedded within the community make me proud to be its Principal.
Our staff are few, but what we lack in quantity we make up for in quality. We also ‘own' little physical infrastructure (for example, we can accommodate less than 300 of our students and we share a small dining room with John Snow) but this only leads to imaginative improvisation. We are living proof that necessity is the mother of invention. The Waterside Room, our shared dining room, has recently reopened after refurbishment and now houses a new joint Colleges Bar and new look restaurant. This enhanced facility is a great asset and provides a fine area for socialising.
The College TV room, lounge and internet café has also been refurbished and renamed as The Heighington Room (after the Durham town at which Locomotion No. 1 was first put on the rails of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in September 1825). As part of this refurbishment, the PC room was relocated to our Kabins, where they now support the Language Lab, part of the College sponsored Languages for All courses.
One of the initiatives of last year was a series of Taster Days for year 12 students from local state schools and colleges. The days are designed to give students a taste of what it is like to be a 1st year at University. We provided taster sessions, tours and college-based activities, while the departments offered a range of exciting academic activities. We organised three days and welcomed over 250 young visitors to the College. Our Taster Days will become annual college events.
Stephenson – new and growing, relaxed and innovative and, above all, striving to astonish the world.Professor Adrian Darnell, Principal